Civet cat coffee: can world's most expensive brew be made sustainably? Civet кофе
The most expensive coffee in the world – All details about Kopi Luwak
Kopi luwak is the world’s most expensive coffee. The main factor of it’s high price is the uncommon method of producing such a coffee. It has been produced from the coffee beans which have been digested by a certain Indonesian cat-like animal called then palm civet or also civet cat. This is the reason kopi luwak is also called cat poop coffee or civet cat coffee. The feces of this cat will be collected, finished and sold as kopi luwak. On this website you will find all relevant information about the production process, the cat, certified kopi luwak producers, the kopi luwak coffee itself and it’s unique properties and taste. The short supply, in comparison with the high demand, the different taste and the uncommon production methods define the value of kopi luwak – the most expensive coffee in the world.
Here is a price comparison of a kopi luwak coffee with an average coffee brand:
Why is Kopi Luwak so special and the most expensive coffee?
The most important reason of the coffee’s speciality is the production process. Have a look at the pictures below to see how the most expensive coffee is produced: from beans fallen from a coffee tree to a cup of Kopi Luwak coffee. If you want more details about each step, just click on “more..” in each section. Hint: To enjoy Kopi Luwak, use regular sized coffee mugs.The coffee tree, Coffea, is a flowering evergreen plant native to tropical Africa and Asia. In the 17th century it was also imported to Latin-America. (more..) In fact, coffee beans are seeds and not beans. They contain caffeine as a plant defense against animals. However, this is no protection against the palm civet cat. (more..) During the digestion process the coffee cherries and the pulp are removed but the coffee beans are not digested. During this process some kind of unique fermentation occurs which is responsible for giving the civet coffee its special flavor. (more..) Palm civets, also known as civet cats, are small mammals which belong to the Viverridae family. Normally they prefer to eat just the ripest coffee cherries. In Indonesia these animals are known as luwaks. (more..) After about 24 hours the coffee beans are defecated by the civet cat. In Southeast Asia these feces are considered golden. They are collected from farmers and processed into coffee. (more..) In the next steps the coffee beans are washed, dried, pounded to remove the skin, sorted and finally roasted . (more..) Kopi Luwak coffee can be brewed like any other coffee. Avoid using sugar, milk or cream in your kopi luwak, because with these ingredients you will not be able to taste its unique flavor. (more..)
enjoy the cup!
Important: You should pay attention when buying Kopi Luwak coffee!
The keyword in this sense is animal friendly and “authentic“, which means it’s coffee cherries have been eaten, digested and excreted by wild living and non-caged civet cat, collected by farmers and sold to roasters to prepare for human consumption. The potential in selling of kopi Luwak is high, which allures alot business people trying to skim the market with wicked methods:
1.) “Fake” kopi luwak / Civet coffee
A book about all the problems of fake kopi luwak
Around 70% of kopi luwak coffee or civet coffee available at coffee stores and the Internet is NOT 100% pure kopi luwak and sometimes it does not contain anything of the genuine coffee. Mark Prince of the popular industry forum Coffee Geek has stated, “There is probably 5,000 percent more kopi luwak sold each year than there is actually produced; production of the legit stuff runs less than 5,000 pounds per year. Why? Because there’s lots of snake oil salesmen packaging up plain Jane inferior commodity grade Indonesian coffees under this banner and trying to get $300 per pound for it.” If you need a detail explanation of the fake potential of kopi luwak, we recommend reading “Don’t Buy kopi luwak Coffee Before You Read This Book”, which gives some great advices. The “Fake” seller try to sell the “most expensive coffee” for a high price with low producing costs.
2.) “Cruel” kopi luwak farms / caged civet cats
Natural kopi luwak, which is harmless to the animals, is found on plantation grounds and collected for roasting. Unfortunately, the farmers of this expensive bean found too high a demand for the coffee and started to harvest the beans unnaturally. Farmers stopped worrying about the natural cultivation of the product and rather looked for ways to yield the highest profit. The answer? Farmers gathered and caged an over-abundant amount of civets and started to almost exclusively feed them coffee beans. High-end pricing turned farming civet cats for kopi luwak coffee into a enslavement industry. Hundreds of the animals can be caged together where they fight or gnaw at their own limbs due to mental distress. Many farmers are uneducated on how to care for their animals and stand by as many succumb to illness and death.
The differences between kopi luwak from farmed and wild civet cats:
Buy certified and animal friendly Kopi Luwak CoffeeCLICK HERE to buy original Kopi Luwak Coffee produced from beans collected of free & wild living civet cats. IMPORTANT NOTE: Please NEVER EVER trust any kopi luwak product, which is NOT listed on this website! For more details about our certification CLICK HERE.
How kopi luwak is grown
Wild Kopi Luwak from Sumatra
Wild Kopi Luwak - Sustainably Sourced From Sumatra, Indonesia
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) whole bean Kopi Luwak (wild civet) coffee,
- sustainably collected by a small organic farmer's cooperative in North Sumatra, Indonesia.
- Noticeably not bitter, intensely aromatic and have a complex flavor profile.
- Proceeds go towards education and vocation training for the people of Lintong Nihuta, North Sumatra, Indonesia
- 100% natural Arabica
Wild Thai Civet (Most expensive coffee in the world)
- Beyond fair trade
- 50% grower owned
- 100% wild - civets are never caged or force-fed
- 100% natural Arabica
- Whole Bean
Wild Kopi Luwak Coffee (Most expensive coffee in the world)
- 100% Wild and Organic Wild Kopi Luwak Coffee
- More than Fair Trade
- Genuine High Quality Premium Civet Coffee Beans
- Very smooth taste with unique aroma
Gayo Luwak Coffee
- 100% Wild and Organic Wild Gayo Luwak Coffee
- World Animal Protection verification
- fFrst in the world verified animal-friendly Wild Kopi Luwak coffee
- Pure arabica beens
- Very smooth taste with unique aroma
BUY KOPI LUWAK - LEGENDEE (Most expensive coffee in the world)
- NO ANIMALS INVOLVED
- Natural enzymatic simulation of the rare and expensive kopi luwak coffee
- Taste 100% like original kopi luwak
Kopi Luwak or Civet Coffee
If you are a coffee drinker, you must know that freshly-brewed organic coffee has many health benefits. Research has shown that coffee not only provides a caffeine boost, it could also prevent heart attack and keep diseases at bay. Meet kopi luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world for good reasons.
Kopi luwak originates from Indonesia (it is also known as cat-poop coffee or civet coffee). Luwak means civet, which is a small nocturnal mammal from the cat family that lives in the tropical rain forests.
What do I mean “cat-poop”? How can “cat poop and coffee” be put together in one sentence? Simply because the coffee beans used for making this world’s most expensive coffee has gone through the civet cat’s digestive system and was excreted.
Ok, some of you may think “eeewwwww …”, and some of you may be curious.
Other Foods That Are PreProcessed By Animals
Before you write off kopi luwak, think about this. Civet coffee is not the only food that humans consume that is first eaten by an animal. Consider these:
- Argan Oil: Ever heard of Moroccan Argan Oil? In Morroco, there is a specie of goats that climb the argan tree to eat of the small fruits. The pits from the fruit are either spat out, or excreted undigested in their feces. Farmers pick these pits, split them up to extract the kernels inside, grind and press them to make a nutty oil used in cooking and cosmetics.
- Honey: Honey bees collect nectar from flowers, store it in their “honey stomachs” which is different from their food stomach. When they have a full load, they fly back to the hive, secrete enzymes into it and convert the nectar into honey. Then the bees regurgitate the honey that we eat raw. Raw honey is the best, remember?
- Jacu Bird Coffee: In Brazil, a type of bird called Jacu, eats ripe coffee berries, later defecates them in the jungle where local people collect them and process the defecated coffee berries into premium Jacu Bird Coffee.
- Bird’s Nest: In Asia, small swift birds make their nests from their own saliva which solidifies. These birds’ nests are collected and processed into expensive medicinal food that is eaten for beauty and longevity.
- Elephant Dung Coffee: In Thailand, Arabica coffee beans consumed by elephants go through their digestive enzymes, breaking down the coffee’s protein and are excreted. The coffee beans are digested and together with various other enzymes present in the elephant’s stomach, imparts specific flavor to the excreted beans that are processed into very expensive coffee.
Why Kopi Luwak?The civet cats play three main roles in producing this most expensive coffee. And the best coffee comes from the wild civet cats, not the caged/bred civet cats.
Wild civet cat eating coffee berries.
Wild civet cats know to choose and eat only the best coffee berries. But, the experts say that their droppings are also the most difficult to harvest, thus the high cost at up to US$1,500 per kilogram.
The civets then nibble off the thin outer layer of the berries and put their digestive juices to work. The enzymes penetrate the beans and subtly change their chemical balance, altering the taste and flavor of the coffee.
While in the digestive tract of the civet, two important things happen …
- Fermentation: produces antibacterial properties that are beneficial for human’s digestive tract.
- Germination: like sprouting, have the highest amount of nutrients and antioxidants during this stage.
Is Kopi Luwak Safe For Human Consumption?
Dr Massimo Marcone, a food scientist from the University of Guelph in Canada “was skeptical that anything being in contact with feces is safe.” After examining the chemical and physical properties of kopi luwak or civet cat poop coffee, Dr Massimo reported that …
- it has lower bacterial counts than regular coffee.
- it has negligible amounts of pathogenic (cancer-causing) organisms associated with feces.
- the cat’s stomach acids and enzymes digest the beans and ferment them, giving the coffee a unique flavor.
- the kopi luwak beans were found to be smoother, possibly due to the surface exfoliation by gastric acids and/or enzymes of the civet cat.
- as the beans take at least 24 to 36 hours being processed in the digestive tract of the civet, the beans start to have partial germination process which makes the beans to have the most nutrients at this stage.
- the kopi luwak beans were partially broken down and have reduced protein that probably affect the flavor and aroma of the bean, making it less bitter.
Civet cat droppings that contain coffee beans.
The Health Benefits Of Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee)
Kopi luwak has been around for many decades and has been evaluated by many laboratories around the world. From the nutrients and antioxidants observed in this special coffee, it can be deduced that drinking it daily without sugar and creamer provides immense health benefits.
Cancer: According to the Journal of Nutrition, women who consume at least four cups of civet coffee daily reported a decreased risk of breast cancer by 38%.
Gallstones: Drinking 2-3 cups of civet coffee daily provides xanthine, a compound that can reduce the risk of gallstone-formation in the gallbladder.
Heart Disease: Drinking civet coffee helps to dilate blood vessels, allowing for better blood circulation, preventing heart diseases and strokes.
Peptic Ulcer: Due to the very low acidic concentration in this expensive coffee, it is suitable and even beneficial for individuals suffering from peptic ulcers and digestive issues.
Diabetes: Unlike regular coffee that suppresses the body’s insulin resistance, civet coffee is actually beneficial for type 2 diabetics.
Dementia: Drinking civet coffee can increase mental clarity and provides a boost of energy. It is reported to prevent cell damages associated with dementia, brain inflammation, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Anti-inflammatory: Civet coffee provides anti-inflammatory properties that reduce various bodily aches and pains.
Bacterial infections: The anti-bacterial properties in civet coffee prevents gum disease, urinary tract infections and other infections caused by disease-causing microbes such as Candida, ringworm, shingles, athlete’s foot and more.
Skin health: As civet coffee helps the digestive tract health, skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis may also benefit from it.
We Are Against Animal Cruelty
Real kopi luwak is a natural animal process that the local people collect, process and roast. Unfortunately, due to the high demand for this expensive coffee, unscrupulous farmers have resorted to harvesting the beans unnaturally for profit. They catch, cage and breed civet cats, feeding them with only coffee beans.
While benefiting from the outstanding health benefits of civet coffee, it makes sense to buy this specialty coffee only from the right organizations that protect these animals.
Bantai Civet Coffee is one such organization where the profits are channeled to conserve the civet population by preserving a sanctuary for the civets and educating their local farmers on caring and preserving these cats while benefiting from their natural process.
Kopi luwak is not for everyone but for those who love coffee and are a little more adventurous, here’s where you can buy it, from responsible organizations.
BUY KOPI LUWAK:
Some Of The Comments From Civet Coffee Drinkers
“I never used to like coffee at all, but after trying luwak coffee my world changed. I became addicted.”
“I drink it for its health benefits. I hear that it can prevent asthma, Parkinson’s, colon cancer and diabetes.”
“The aroma is rich and strong, and the coffee is incredibly full-bodied, almost syrupy. It’s thick with a hint of chocolate, and lingers on the tongue with a long, clean aftertaste.”
“This is the best coffee I’ve ever had! Despite stigma about where it comes from, it blows any coffee I’ve ever had out of the water!”
“There’s the sheer amusement of sharing some of this coffee with someone and telling them what civet coffee is. That is priceless!”
The Most Expensive Coffee In The World: Kopi Luwak (A.k.a. Civet Coffee) was last modified: January 15th, 2018 by Sara Ding
Civet Coffee - Coffee-Types.com
Civet Coffee – Kopi Luwak or cat poop coffee is extensively generally known as the rarest, most expensive espresso on the earth. Robusta coffees, which had been traded in London at a less expensive value compared to New York’s Arabica. It’s the selection of enormous industrial shoppers consisting of multinational roasters and prompt espresso producers; they favor these coffees due to the inexpensive worth. It is alleged that it cat crap coffee is the most expensive coffee drink of the world.
Traditionally, the beans are sourced from palm civet droppings found in the wild, however as the demand for the world’s most expensive coffee has grown, so has the variety of civets kept in captivity to increase the provision. Vietnam has two farms with 300 wild civets in Dak Lak, while in Mindanao island of the Philippines, has two farms with 200 (in Davao City) and 100 (in Cagayan de Oro City) wild civets. After the cat eats the coffee berries after which poop them out, their digestive mechanism is then believed to enhance the taste and taste profile of the espresso. Many coffee brewers and processors imagine that having cats create Kopi Luwak ends in a greater Civet Coffee product.
Robusta coffees, which had been traded in London at a less expensive price in comparison with New York’s Arabica, are the selection of huge industrial purchasers consisting of multinational roasters and immediate coffee producers. They favor these coffees due to the cheaper price. Cat crap espresso is the costliest coffee drink of the world.
Civet coffee is now harvested in Vietnam and the Philippines. In addition to Indonesia the place it began, and is usually accessible in Singapore and Malaysia too. Primarily produced on the Indonesian Islands of Bali, Java, and Sumatra, Kopi Luwak is carefully linked to the historical past of Indonesian coffee production. Civet cats are superb creatures. They can be prized not only for their capability to digest espresso beans. But also for the scent of the secretions from their anal glands. One important distinction between Black Ivory Coffee (ingested by elephants) versus civet espresso IS ethics.
It’s clear for everybody that consuming digested espresso needs to be totally different from eating… undigested coffee. While on the espresso plantation I had no concept that there was a worldwide debate occurring. Concerning the ethics of Civet Coffee or kopi luwak and the battery production of civet poo. It has additionally spawned copy-cat industries. With coffee from Brazilian Jacu birds fetching high prices, as well as espresso digested by elephants. Who reportedly should chomp down on 33 kilograms of coffee beans. To create one kilogram of roasted espresso that’s harvested from their poo.
This espresso was first originally found by Indonesian farmers in the early 1700s. Once they were engaged on Dutch coffee plantations. The elephants I work with should not caged. They don’t seem to be from the wild. But have been rescued from the street. They eat it voluntarily (numerous espresso is thrown onto the ground by the elephants increasing waste). Supervised by an elephant veterinarian and the muse itself is among the only five star Thai government rated sanctuaries. The purpose behind its being costly is the process from which Civet Coffee beans go through.
Civet Coffee or Kopi Luwak often known as novelty coffee. Folks like to purchase and drink as a result of it is so distinctive. After emerging, the entrenched beans stay undigested. But by some means chemically altered in such a approach that, apparently, they generate a coffee that is unbelievably smooth. Have a devoid of any bitterness, and with a pleasant nutty aftertaste. UTZ is the world’s largest program for certifying that espresso has been made sustainably. Together with the farm practices, living circumstances of farm workers and care of the setting. The civet eats the cherries for the fleshy pulp, then in the digestive tract, fermentation happens.Bestseller No. 2 Kopi Luwak Bantai Pure Organic Shade Grown Civet Coffee - Whole Medium...
- LUXURY COFFEE FOR A NOBLE CAUSE - Bantai Civet Coffee is grown organically, and shade grown in the forest covered mountains of Ifugao Province in the...
- A US PEACE CORPS PROJECT - Bantai Civet Coffee was started as a US Peace Corps project, funded by USAID, to conserve the wild Civet population. Wild...
- PURE WILD CIVET COFFEE - The extremely rare Bantai Civet Coffee is made of 100 percent pure, wild, and organic medium roasted Robusta whole beans. The...
- To produce this coffee, coffee berries are eaten by the Luwak cat. In the stomach of these animals, the berries come in contact with proteolytic...
- Noticeably not bitter, Kaya Kopi Luwak is intensely aromatic with a complex flavor profile that is smooth, earthy and sweet with a hint of chocolate....
- This product is 100% Kopi Luwak Coffee Whole Beans from the Aceh Gayo Highlands of Sumatra Indonesia.
- • Get your Death Wish Coffee fix with this smooth dark roast coffee that is conveniently ground for your auto-drip coffee maker
- • Take pride knowing that you're drinking USDA Certified Organic and Fairtrade coffee
- • Our beans are carefully selected & expertly roasted to give you that caffeine kick, bold taste and great aroma that you've come to love
- 100% Pure Authentic Kopi Luwak Coffee Beans, not a phony blend for an original Kopi Luwak experience
- Wild Civet coffee sustainably sourced and collected by small farmer's in North Sumatra, Indonesia so no animals are harmed
- Rich, strong flavored, and amazingly full-bodied, a perfect cup of coffee to savor
Civet cat coffee: can world's most expensive brew be made sustainably? | Guardian Sustainable Business
The story of kopi luwak has a certain repulsive charm. A shy cat-like wild creature wanders out of the Sumatran jungle at night onto a coffee plantation and selects only the finest, ripest coffee cherries to eat. Only it can’t digest the stone (the coffee bean) and craps them out, its anal glands imparting an elusive musky smoothness to the resultant roasted coffee.
And when, as coffee director of Taylors of Harrogate, I first brought a small amount of kopi luwak to the west in 1991, that repulsive charm worked wonders with the press and public, and my kilo of luwak beans caused a stir wherever I took it.
But the charm has now evaporated, and the only thing left is the repulsive. Kopi luwak has become hugely popular worldwide, and as a result wild luwaks (palm civets) are being poached and caged in terrible conditions all over South East Asia, and force fed coffee cherries to produce commercially viable quantities of the precious coffee beans in their poo.
But even as these cruel battery farms, especially in Indonesia, were pouring out tonnes of it a year, the coffee trade was still pedalling the myth that kopi luwak was incredibly rare, derived from coffee chosen by discerning wild luwaks.
That myth was well and truly exploded by the Facebook campaign (Kopi Luwak: Cut the Crap!) I launched a year ago. Shocked at the thought that my original innocent purchase could have spawned such a monster, my original aim was to persuade consumers, retailers, importers, exporters and producers of kopi luwak to end their involvement in this cruel, fraudulent trade.Kopi luwak coffee. The brown beans are before roasting, whiter beans afterwards. Photograph: Alamy
I’ve since teamed up with partners such as World Animal Protection (WAP) and change.org and the effects have been dramatic. Under pressure from us – and from their own customers – leading UK retailers such as Harvey Nichols and Selfridges have ceased to stock kopi luwak, and retailers in Holland, Scandinavia and Canada have committed to dropping it too. Coffee certifiers such as Rainforest Alliance and UTZ are banning its production from their estates.
But late last year there was an unexpected development with Harrods. They found a new supplier, Rarefied, which they claimed was the real deal, a producer of genuine wild kopi luwak. Not only that, they invited me to meet its founder, former Goldman Sachs banker Matt Ross, and check him out.
Deeply sceptical at first, I was ultimately impressed. Rarefied’s foundational principle is that their coffee is guaranteed wild, and it has put in place solid, demonstrable systems to ensure it is the case. Matt took me through the process, step by documented step. Not only that, but I could suddenly see that there were additional benefits in terms of habitat and biodiversity conservation, and smallholder education and income. Kopi luwak, far from being the monster I thought I’d created, could actually provide a sustainable livelihood. Provided, of course, that it’s genuinely wild.
Rarefied’s kopi luwak is called Sijahtra and comes from the Gayo Mountains district of northern Sumatra. Matt and his partners have about 40 coffee farmers on the company’s books, typically from the more remote areas, each with a couple of hectares and close to or abutting the rainforest – the luwaks favoured habitat, where they nest in trees. They are natural omnivores, but when the weather is cold and wet (and at 1,500 meters above sea level, even on the equator, that is quite often), luwaks seem to welcome the caffeine boost that eating ripe coffee cherries gives them.
The farmers are shown how to collect the resultant scats containing the coffee beans while they are still fresh and bring them to a central processing factory where they are assessed for quality. At this stage it’s possible to tell the difference between wild and caged kopi luwak by the appearance of the faeces, which tells the story of what the animals have been eating in addition to coffee cherry.Scats containing coffee beans. Photograph: Joel T Sadler 2014
The farmers are well-trained and strictly monitored, and if any of them attempts to pass off caged kopi luwak as wild, they are instantly banned. If the kopi luwak they collect passes muster, they are paid very well for it, some 10 times what the caged equivalent would fetch (the aim, says Ross, is to return 5% of the sale price to the farmer – $100 a kg). But the amount they are allowed to bring in monthly is strictly limited – a quota system that further helps to guarantee authenticity.
All this care and attention to detail comes with a hefty price tag – Harrods are currently selling Sijahtra at £200 per 100 grams – but there are plenty of customers there and around the world willing to pay for what is seen as the ultimate luxury coffee.
Hearing about Sijahtra kopi luwak has had a significant effect on my Cut the Crap campaign aims. I’ve realised that potentially there is a sustainable business model in genuine wild kopi luwak. While still calling for the end of the cruel practice of using captive luwaks for coffee production, I’ve now joined with Harrods and WAP to lobby for the creation of an independent certification scheme for genuine, wild kopi luwak based on similar monitoring systems.
We’ve even persuaded the Indonesian government to support the concept of a certification scheme for what they call their “national treasure”. And more recently the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe, one of the most influential trade organisations in the coffee world, has acknowledged that there is a problem with caged kopi luwak, and have come out in support of our independent certification initiative too. The aim would not necessarily be to emulate Sijahtra’s extremely high quality control levels (and price tag), but to guarantee that the coffee was wild, and thus by its nature, sustainable.
Wild kopi luwak could provide smallholders with a premium product that also helps conserve the animal’s natural forest habitat. Maybe not so repulsive after all...
Tony Wild is the author of “Coffee: A Dark History”
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What Is Civet Coffee? (with pictures)
I tried Weasel Kopi Luwak. Can someone can tell me what is the difference between Civet Coffee and Weasel Coffee? I also heard about Kopi Alamid. Is it the same as Weasel?
I'm against the idea of civet cat coffee too. Not because this coffee passes through the digestive system of an animal first, but because of the way these animals are treated in the process.
Civet coffee is very much a luxury item. I know that there are a lot of people who drink this coffee regularly, but it's never going to be a staple kind of coffee in households. I think catching civet cats and locking them up for the production of this coffee is inhumane and unnecessary.
I also completely agree with the article that the idea of a civet cat farm completely undermines the value of civet coffee. The point is to utilize the coffee beans that civets have picked out to eat in the wild. By keeping these animals in cages and feeding them coffee beans, the actual quality of the coffee is being reduced.
Don't you agree with me?
@anamur-- I know when you first hear about palm civet coffee, it sounds kind of strange, okay- very strange. But it's not that bad!
It actually tastes very good, and it doesn't become bitter no matter how long you keep it brewing. This is the problem with most coffees. They tend to become bitter and acidic sometimes even right after a fresh brew. Acidic coffee is horrible on the stomach. That's the great part about palm civet coffee and it truly is very aromatic.
Plus, it's not like you are drinking dung. The coffee cherries which are taken from the dung are very much intact. They are separated from the dung and cleaned properly and go through processing.
It is very expensive and the higher the price, the higher the guarantee that it's the original palm civet coffee. There is way too much civet coffee these days for it to be real. There are just not enough civet farms for that. If you buy civet coffee in the US, it most likely will be real since it must be imported. But civet coffee which is sold in Asia is mostly fake.
And I believe it's quite expensive too right? It must be since the process of making it is difficult and costly. Do we really need to pay so much more and drink this coffee? How good could it possible be? I think I will stick to my regular cup of coffee.
Why the most expensive coffee in the world is ingested and then defecated
There are many types of coffee in the world, and the price can vary greatly. But the most expensive type is the one that have been ingested and defecated. What makes this process so special? The answer, as usually with foods and beverages, is chemistry.
A civet in the wild. Image via Wikipedia.
Kopi luwak or civet coffee, refers to the seeds of coffee berries that have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet. It’s also the market name for the coffee made from these beans. A kilogram of Kopi luwak costs over $200 at the very least, and generally goes at about $700.
The coffee berries are fed to civets, nocturnal mammal native to the tropical forests of Asia and Africa. The civets eat the berries, digest them, and then defecate. It is believed that the digestive process of the civets improves the quality and flavor of the coffee beans. Fermentation occurs in their bellies. Producers argue that this process improves coffee beans through two processes:
- selection; if given the possibility, the civets only eat the best berries which will result in the best beans
- fermentation; the civet’s Protease enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids, significantly changing the taste.
However, despite these claims, few objective assessments of taste are available, because the process of coffee production involves many steps (collection, roasting, ageing and brewing), and the health of the civet is also a significant factor which can alter the taste.
Elephants, unlike humans or civets, are herbivores. The fermentation happening in their gut as they break down cellulose helps remove the bitterness in the coffee beans. Here, an elephant receives medical treatment from the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation.Michael Sullivan/NPR
But while civet coffee used to be the most expensive option out there, the crows was recently taken by Black Ivory Coffee – a type of coffee consumed and defecated by elephants. However, while it costs over $1,100 per kilo, Black Ivory coffee has very limited availability, being sold only at a few luxury hotels and clubs, where the price is $50 for a cup. The high price of the product is largely due to the high amount of coffee cherries needed to produce the finished product:33 kilograms (72 pounds) of raw coffee cherries result in 1 kilogram (2 pounds) of the finished product. Most of the beans are not recoverable because they are chewed by the elephants.
There are also reports of similar processes occurring naturally with muntjacs and some species of birds.
What the science says
A civet eating coffee berries. Image via Wikipedia.
It’s clear for everybody that eating digested coffee should be different from eating… undigested coffee. But how exactly does this alter the taste? Several studies have examined the process in which the animal’s stomach acids and enzymes digest the beans’ covering and ferment the beans. The main thing is that the bitterness of the coffee is greatly reduced by the enzymes in the civet’s (or elephant’s) stomach. These secretions also carry proteolytic enzymes which break down the beans’ proteins.
Research by food scientist Massimo Marcone at the University of Guelph in Ontario, found that there are, indeed, significant differences in the taste and flavor of the coffee. His main conclusions were:
- Protein structure had been altered, reducing bitterness and potentially impacting flavour.
- Volatile compounds had significant differences compared to regular coffee, indicating there are changes in flavour.
According to his research, these changes also eliminate or greatly reduce coffee’s diuretic effect.
Controversy and animal welfare
Despite the general appreciation and the huge prices paid for elephant or civet coffee, there is also great controversy surrounding this technique. While the coffee is sold at a huge price, collectors in the Philippines only get about $20 per kilogram.
Civet in a cage – tens of thousands of civets live in extremely cruel conditions. Image via Wikipedia.
Also, while initially civet coffee beans were picked from wild civet excrement found around coffee plantations, opportunistic people started building “civet farms”, confining tens of thousands of animals to live in battery cage. They are force fed, unhealthy, and live in extremely cruel conditions. There is also the problem that most people don’t know about this – the general awareness is very low regarding the conditions in which the civets live.
‘”The conditions are awful, much like battery chickens”, said Chris Shepherd, deputy regional director of the conservation NGO, TRAFFIC southeast Asia. “The civets are taken from the wild and have to endure horrific conditions. They fight to stay together but they are separated and have to bear a very poor diet in very small cages. There is a high mortality rate and for some species of civet, there’s a real conservation risk. It’s spiralling out of control. But there’s not much public awareness of how it’s actually made. People need to be aware that tens of thousands of civets are being kept in these conditions. It would put people off their coffee if they knew”‘.
So, if you do want to taste this exquisite coffee, please be sure that it was harvested from civets in the wild, and not from civet farms. Don’t put a taint on what is otherwise a delicious and creatively obtained beverage.
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Civet Coffee – Cat Poo Coffee – CoffeeTasse
Everything you need to know about Civet Cat Coffee or Kopi Luwak
Kopi Luwak is, hands down, one of the most talked about kind of gourmet coffee and one that also surrounds itself with a lot of myths and controversy. However, civet coffee or kopi luwak as it is more popularly known as, has a lot more to it than what is known by the average human.
In a more generalized sense of the term, kopi luwak or civet cat coffee is the coffee that is derived from the excreta of the cat after it has consumed the whole coffee berry. The term Kopi Luwak has been derived from Indonesian roots where Kopi translates to coffee and luwak is an Asian Palm Civet, thus translating in literal terms to Civet Coffee.
Kopi Luwak is easily one of the most expensive coffees that a man can consume not just because of the unique procedure involved in getting the seeds and brewing a cup but also because of the rarity that comes along with it. Besides, kopi luwak, whilst available all over the world today due to globalization and ease in transporting goods from one continent to another, it is specifically grown only in the regions of Sumatra, Sulawesi, Java and Bali in Indonesia. The civet cat coffee is so rare that farmers only produce up to 700 Kg in a given year. After washing the beans, they are only roasted up to the medium level as anything higher can destroy the complex notes and flavors that this coffee is famous for.
Essentially, when it comes to creating this exquisite coffee, there are two parties that play a major role. The first is, undoubtedly, the civet or the cat and the second party is the team of coffee farmers who deliver the final product.
Given below is the entire procedure that is undertaken from start to finish to produce this expensive and rare coffee.
- Collecting the coffee beans:
Essentially, the civet or the cat consumes the coffee berries as a large part of its everyday diet. While the outer fruit gets easily digested, it is the coffee bean itself within these berries that does not undergo digestion and is therefore, thrown out of the civet’s body in the form of excreta.
The coffee farmers who work in these fields locally then collect these excreta. This is the first step in obtaining the extremely rare and gourmet civet cat coffee or kopi luwak. Apart from using a coffee roaster, there is hardly ever any kind of equipment used and every other step that is involved in the preparation of the final product is done so by hand.
- Sorting and cleaning the beans:
Once the farmers have acquired the raw materials, it is then time to meticulously have the beans cleaned so as to separate the feces from the bean. The layers that envelop the green coffee beans are crumbled and the coveted beans are obtained.
The work that follows is quite monotonous and needs to be done in an immaculate manner so as to ensure that only the best Civet coffee is delivered to coffee connoisseurs. Essentially, every single bean is inspected carefully to check for quality. Smaller ones are usually discarded. Sometimes, there is also a possibility of finding stones in the feces and therefore, taking them out for safety purposes is important. Once the sorting is done, the exceptional quality green beans are taken to the next stage of the kopi luwak experience by roasting them.
- Getting the beans cleaned:
However, the beans are not directly taken to roast. They first need to be washed and dried to remove any unwanted fecal matter that may still be attached to the beans. Once the green beans have been thoroughly washed, they are then dried sufficiently. This forms a very important part of the procedure since any kind of humidity can wreak havoc on the precious beans and can lead to fermentation. The civet coffee beans are then stored in a place devoid of any humidity and generally in a dark environment until they are ready for the roasting.
Irrespective of the kind of Civet coffee being made, it is the roasting process that gives every kind of coffee its distinct aroma and body. Therefore, even if two different companies have managed to obtain the same kind of coffee beans, the final flavor of the coffee is likely to vary vastly depending on the procedure adopted when roasting the green coffee bean.
In the usual roasting environment, coffee seeds are subjected to no more that 230 degrees C and need a minimum temperature of 220 degrees C for the perfect aroma and body.
For kopi luwak, a medium roast works well. They are not usually roasted beyond medium as it can interfere greatly with the complexity of the flavors and it is only when the green coffee bean for the civet cat coffee has been roasted to light or medium does one enjoy the real flavors.
Once the kopi luwak beans or Civet Coffee have been adequately roasted, they are passed through a quick cooling procedure to stop further roasting and acquire the perfect aroma. For the most intense and original kopi luwak flavor, it is crucial to grind the beans only after 12 hours of its roasting as anything less can affect the way the final product tastes.
When enjoying your cup of kopi luwak, it is extremely important to protect the coffee grinds from coming into contact with oxygen and humidity as it can cause the coffee to lose its potency. At the same time, protecting it from direct sunlight will ensure that you get to enjoy maximum flavor from your kopi luwak coffee of civet coffee.
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